Texas Shrimp Hatchery Raises $20 Million, Eyes Asia Expansion
February 9, 2017
Taft, Texas-based genetics shrimp hatchery Sea Products Development, an affiliate company of shrimp farm Global Blue Technologies, has nearly completed a $20 million fundraising in the company’s single largest round to date. Sea Products Development, which was founded in 2015, is directing the capital toward simultaneous expansions in North America and Japan as demand for brood stock and post larvae shrimp intensifies.
Dr. Tim Aberson, who spearheads the Global Blue Technologies investment division, tells GAI News $18 million of the $20 million has already been committed or collected from individuals including repeat investors, leaving $2 million yet to be raised.
“We decided we would do a capital raise of another $20 million to expand our current facility and put up a satellite hatchery in Japan that is owned by us. Then Japan can serve the Asian market, and the Texas hatchery can serve the North American, Central American and South American markets,” said Aberson.
The son of an open pen hog farmer, Aberson grew up in the farming community. He recalls when bio-security changed the landscape of how pork is produced in the United States. Now he and the Sea Products Development team are applying similar principles to the shrimp business.
“Ninety-nine percent of all shrimp aquaculture is done outdoors where you can’t control conditions like the environment, weather fluctuations, disease, etc. What we are doing is taking the new hog model and creating a bio-secure indoor re-circulating aquaculture system that manages waste and the environment, eliminating disease. We’re doing this on a commercial scale, and we think we are the future of shrimp aquaculture,” said Aberson.
He points to the company’s proprietary technology for its recirculating aquaculture system as the linchpin that catapults Sea Products Development years ahead of the competition. “Once we take our water in from Copano Bay, we filter it, we chlorinate it, de-chlorinate it, UV filter it and then bring it back into our system. Once it’s in our system we inoculate it with all the good microorganisms that live in the water. And once in our system we recycle and reuse the water, never discharging it back into the original water source. That’s the Holy Grail of aquaculture. People have been trying to do this for 30 years on a commercial scale and we feel that we have figured it out,” said Aberson.
Others seem to agree, evidenced by the fact that the shrimp hatchery is now supplying brood stock and post larvae to other farmers all around the world, including in India and Asia where permits are difficult to obtain. Sea Products has also sold to 40 percent of the states in the U.S. and across Europe, with expansion plans under way. “We’re fast becoming a global brand,” said Aberson. “We have so much demand coming our way, and that’s why the capital raise came about. Soon we will be selling to Canada, Mexico, Belize, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.”
Aberson said the goal for Global Blue Technologies, Sea Products Developments’ parent company, is to produce two million to 2.5 million pounds of shrimp at its current site, with a production goal of 10 million pounds in Texas. The company has also successfully established premium pricing of $10 per pound for its U10 (sizing of less than 10 shrimp per pound) Pacific White Shrimp.
Eventually Global Blue Technologies and Sea Products hope to be the future not only of shrimp but of all aquaculture including fish. With the current capital raise, Global Blue Technologies, across all of its affiliates, has raised $80 million in less than half a decade.
Gerelyn is a regular contributor to GAI News. She has been writing about institutional investing and asset management for the majority of her career and has developed a focus on agriculture given the global scale of the industry’s relevance and importance.
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